Despite getting pen-to-paper with 21 prospects on Wednesday, Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen and his recruiting staff know they still have work ahead of them to cap off the 2020 class.
With Florida's first signing day in the books, I've decided to look forward to the top recruits that the Gators will target for the second National Signing Day. At his early signing day press conference, Mullen said he'll look at 5-6 targets and take the "best available" prospects, so let's take a look at who those targets might be.
Safety Avantae Williams
Widely regarded as the No. 1 safety in the 2020 class, Avantae Williams from Deland, Florida is undoubtedly the top target remaining for the Gators.
Williams recently opened his recruitment back up after de-committing from Oregon, and Florida seems to be at the top of his list before he signs in February. Georgia, Miami, Ole Miss, and LSU are other teams to keep an eye on, but the familiarity definitely lies with the Gators.
Williams keeps his recruitment tight to the vest and hasn't said much or taken many visits, only going to Eugene and Gainesville this season. For what it's worth, Georgia just took four-star safety, Major Burns, from Baton Rogue, so they may be done at safety for the cycle.
Williams is also a former Miami commit, and with the Hurricanes missing on Jaiden Francois they may still be looking for a safety in their class. Lorenzo Lingard is also Williams' cousin, so there is some connection to Miami through him.
Ole Miss is a new name to keep an eye on, and it seems they have scheduled an official visit with Williams on the 24th of January.
It is too early to tell, but I believe Florida is in a good spot as of now. The Gators will have to close, which was a problem with the first signing day. Florida is closer to home, has little depth at safety, and Williams knows multiple people at UF such as Dionte Marks, who graduated from Deland last year.
ATH Damarcus Beckwith
A 6-5, 215-pound athlete, Damarcus Beckwith has been high on Florida's board since before the season, and Dan Mullen extended an offer in August. Beckwith plays multiple positions, but he'd likely be a Kyle Pitts-like WR/TE hybrid at the next level.
Beckwith's athletism is off the charts and he is a special talent. His bounce is crazy, and he would also consider playing basketball if he does choose the Gators at the end of his recruitment. Ole Miss, Tennessee, and Auburn are other schools to keep an eye on, but it is no question that Florida is in the lead here for Beckwith's services.
RB Jahmyr Gibbs
The long-time Georgia Tech commit has recently been flirting with some other schools including Florida, Alabama, and Ohio State, and will sign in February. It makes sense that he is leaving his options open as he was one of the best running backs in all of Georgia this past season.
Ohio State will have Gibbs on campus on January 17th-19th, Florida will welcome Gibbs to Gainesville on an official visit on January 24th-26th, and Tech will try and seal the deal with their last visit on January 31st-February 2nd.
Alabama is seemingly out of it, as they flipped four-star Jase McClellan from Oklahoma on signing day, so that is one less school Florida has to worry about for Gibbs. Regardless, the No. 1 team Florida has to beat is Georgia Tech. Gibbs has proven he is committed to Georgia Tech, and they'll do anything to hold on to his pledge before he signs.
Texas also just offered on December 19th, and they may be looking for another back to close out the 2020 class.
RB Henry Parrish
The newly ranked four-star from Columbus High School in Miami is one to keep a close eye on, as he has recently de-committed from Pittsburgh. Parrish has drawn interest from South Carolina, Florida and Ole Miss since his de-commitment and he'll most likely end up playing his college ball in the SEC.
In this case, South Carolina is most familiar with Parrish, as they welcomed him on campus back in September for an official visit.
Parrish visited Florida on his own dime for the Florida-FSU game and shortly after conducted an in-home visit with Greg Knox. There is mutual interest, but Parrish was a bit unhappy with how late Florida offered (they offered on September 19th).
Parrish also just received an Ole Miss offer on the 15th of December, so they are also coming in late to recruit the 5'10, 183 pound running back. Granted they have a new staff and are grasping for straws, but they are just letting offers fly and trying to get one to stick.
From the portal...
WR Justin Shorter, Penn State
Former five-star and 2018 No. 1 receiver, Justin Shorter, has recently entered his name into the transfer portal to leave Penn State. Some schools to watch for Shorter include; Florida, Ohio State, Baylor, FSU, Arizona State and multiple others.
Shorter never got into the rotation at Penn State for multiple reasons, including injuries. However, Shorter has all the physical characteristics you can ask for in a wide receiver.
The 6-4 receiver struggled to truly find his role and on top of all that he also put on some more weight. According to his former head coach James Franklin, he said Shorter was "a cheeseburger away from 250 pounds" earlier in the spring.
A fresh start is the best move for Shorter, and he really didn't have much of a recruitment the first time around. He wanted to stay close to home, committed to Penn State early, and didn't take many other visits to other schools.
Shorter would get a hard look from Florida coaches due to his potential, and Billy Gonzales could work some of his magic with him to get him where he needs to be. Dan Mullen is known for taking a hard look at the transfer portal as he brought in two of his most productive wide receivers on the roster in Trevon Grimes and Van Jefferson from Ohio State and Ole Miss, respectively.
RB Jashaun Corbin
The former Texas A&M Aggie has also decided to look elsewhere and entered his name in the portal on December 16th. He was fairly productive at A&M, rushing for 483 yards on 96 carries and also scored two touchdowns. Corbin injured his hamstring earlier in the season and didn't see the field again after his solid start to the season.
He is a sophomore and is also a Florida native, hailing from Rockledge. He was an FSU commit for a few months before Jimbo Fisher left, so I wouldn't leave that door completely closed with Mike Norvell and Co. as they are desperate for talent in Tallahassee.
Other schools to keep an eye on are FSU, Ohio State, and South Carolina, but I wouldn't rule out him returning to A&M. If Corbin were to apply for a medical redshirt he should be able to get one, so he should have three years of eligibility even if he does leave A&M.
The problem with both Corbin and Shorter is that they will likely not be immediately eligible, but regardless Florida should take them due to the lack of depth at running back and wide receiver. Both offer some experience and will balance out the numbers due to them not being incoming freshmen, and with the board looking the way it is there should be no hesitation in taking either one of them or both.
Hopefully, the staff feels the same way, as both these players would make be major additions to the Gators even if they did have to sit out a year.
Overall, the Gators have room to build on their 8th ranked recruiting class by filling multiple positions of need at safety, running back and wide receiver before Signing Day in February. There aren't many targets left, and as we get closer there will be more offers going out to try and fill all the spots. Also as bowl season ends, more players will decide to enter the transfer portal, which Mullen is always taking a look at.
Florida has another chance to finish strong, which they couldn't do during the early period after missing on multiple flips such as Tim Smith and Donnell Harris. Avantae Williams is the #1 target for February, and he would be a game-changer if the Gators could add him to the class. Needs still need to be met at running back and receiver and Florida will look to add other depth pieces as they are able. The Gators are continuing to build quality depth as they gain ground on some of the best programs in CFB, and this 2020 class is no different.